How Different Teams Use a CRM

Beginner's Guide to CRM

A key benefit of having one CRM system for your entire organization is that you can ensure department alignment while streamlining communication. The result? A better customer experience that encourages brand loyalty and long-lasting relationships.

But every team uses CRMs differently. For example:

  • Sales uses CRMs to manage their sales pipeline
  • Customer service uses CRMs to provide timely customer support
  • Marketing uses CRMs to track and improve marketing ROI

In this chapter, we outline how these 3 departments use CRMs differently and how using a single source of truth ultimately benefits them.

The Beginner's Guide to CRM
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Role of CRM in sales

A CRM is traditionally thought of as a sales tool — and for good reason. With a sales CRM, you can zero in on your sales pipeline progress and understand what’s been working and what needs improvements.

One of the most popular sales CRMs is Salesforce Sales Cloud. Many users enjoy how robust and customizable the platform is.

Some of the biggest benefits of using a sales CRM are qualifying leads, nurturing opportunities, and managing deals.

Qualifying leads

Once a lead enters your database, a lead owner (usually a salesperson) can be automatically assigned to that lead. That means your organization won’t have any leads slip through the cracks because at least one team member has visibility of the lead’s sales pipeline progress.

With a CRM, your sales team can alter their view of their lead list using filters based on specific criteria — such as territory, industry, or lead rating. This helps them work more efficiently, as they now know who to strategically connect with that day.

We recommend creating a lead scoring system within your sales CRM to indicate how close to being qualified a lead is. The rating will help your reps figure out which leads to prioritize and which leads to stopping pursuing.

For example, we’ve created our own lead rating system with a custom field called EBRating, which we explain in more detail in our Lead Qualification Process blog post.

Lead qualification rating system developed by EBQ

Once a lead has been qualified, it can be converted to a contact associated with an opportunity. That means you’re now one step closer to closing that deal.

Nurturing & closing opportunities

A CRM improves the nurturing process by keeping all information about past interactions in one place. Especially if you have multiple reps working with the same contacts, recording notes on all of your conversations is beneficial for the entire team. 

Notes help your sales rep figure out how to highlight your solutions’ value to the customers more personally. You can also tell reps how soon to follow up on a lead using notes or custom fields.

As sales reps speak with prospects, the opportunity will continue to move through the pipeline stages. Another advantage of using a CRM is that everyone can visually see the progress through each stage. Sales reps can specify when an opportunity moves from one stage to the next. Most CRMs provide default stages to help you get started, but you can customize these stages based on your unique business process.

CRM sales stages

In Salesforce, some of these default stages include: qualification, negotiation, and closed (closed won or closed lost). Salesforce also allows you to include required steps and guidance for each pipeline stage for reps — which helps standardize the sales process.

Finally, another huge benefit of using the CRM is you can forecast how many deals will close based on those pipeline stages. We explain in detail how we use sales stages to estimate the probability of a deal closing in our Essential Guide to Pipeline Management.

The Essential Guide to Sales Pipeline Management​

Using probability and forecasting, sales can accurately predict if they’re going to meet their quotas. We’ll also cover how to report on these deals in the next chapter.

Role of CRM in customer service

The customer service department’s job is to keep your customers happy. Using a CRM means you can maintain a customer-centric organization more effectively. Many CRM providers offer service-focused CRM apps — such as Salesforce’s Service Cloud.

So, what are the key benefits of using a service CRM?

  • Assignments and routing
  • Case management
  • Visibility into customer accounts

Assignments & routing

When your customer contacts you with a question or issue, the CRM creates a case for your customer service team to solve. To resolve these tickets efficiently, you need to make sure a customer service team member is available and aware of the case entering the queue.

A CRM can help speed up the process by automatically assigning and routing tickets to the appropriate specialist. For example, if a customer needs to exchange an item, they might speak with a customer service representative. However, another customer who needs to get a refund for a missing package might speak to the billing department.

Without a CRM, someone would have to manually connect all of these tickets to the appropriate queue, which may result in errors. Utilizing a CRM means less waiting time for your customers — thus improving customer satisfaction and retention.

Case management

Service Cloud case management

Imagine being a customer and having to explain your exact same situation to different customer service representatives over and over again. Wouldn’t that get frustrating?

That’s why many customer service departments use a CRM to track every interaction with each customer. That way, a representative can get the full picture of the customer’s pain point without having the customers repeat themselves.

A key benefit to using a service CRM is that your representatives can manage cases more efficiently. Understanding the full picture quickly means your customers feel heard, which improves your relationship with your customers.

Customer accounts

Looking back at the benefits of a service CRM, another key benefit of using a Service CRM is getting a 360˚ view of your customers.

If you’re using a single CRM for your entire business, you’ll be able to track everything from when they first heard of your organization to when they contacted customer support. Using all this data they’ve given you, you’ll be able to isolate and identify top buyers easier.

In the customer service world, you can get a better understanding of who you’re connecting with before the call starts. With every interaction tracked, it means a faster turnaround time on customer queries.

Customer service can also collaborate with sales to help them figure out who to contact to cross-sell to or upsell on a solution that might be a better fit for them. You can then share this information with the rest of your organization to help them create a better strategy to go after high-quality prospects.

Role of CRM in marketing

Let’s jump back to the beginning of the buyer’s journey. The marketing team is in charge of not only understanding how to communicate with your prospects but also how to get in front of them.

This means that gathering as much data as possible from the get-go is key to creating a stronger strategy that speaks to your potential customers.

With a marketing CRM, you can benefit from these advantages:

  • Marketing automation platform integration
  • Sales and marketing alignment
  • Attributing marketing ROI

Marketing automation platform integration

Many CRM vendors provide apps and features specifically geared toward marketers. Using a marketing automation platform from the same provider as your CRM offers the advantage of native integration with your CRM platform. 

For example, Salesforce has both Marketing Cloud and Pardot: one designed for B2C customers and the other geared toward B2B customers. If you’re debating between these 2 marketing automation powerhouses, we’ve outlined their differences in our post Marketing Cloud vs. Pardot

HubSpot — another big marketing automation player — has the Marketing Hub that also allows their clients to create marketing campaigns and automate workflows.

Most marketing automation platforms heavily focus on email marketing and help with inbound lead generation through forms and landing pages. This allows the marketing team to take their time to nurture leads until they’re qualified for sales.

These platforms integrate with the CRM to automatically route leads to the appropriate sales rep. This means that both your sales team and marketing team can work together to chase high-quality leads from a single source of truth.

Sales & marketing alignment

The best part about using a CRM as a single source of truth? You can create campaigns within your CRM and connect them to your marketing tools. This means your marketing team will have full visibility into their impact on the sales pipeline as a whole — from their email campaigns to content downloads.

The marketing team can also see all interactions between a prospect and sales (and vice versa). From specific touches to lead scores to even pipeline stages, both your sales and marketing teams can create better audience segments based on accurate data.

Attribute marketing ROI

As mentioned above, you can use a CRM to measure campaign performance and effectiveness over the entire sales cycle. You can even track your campaign spend to  evaluate the ROI of your marketing campaigns. After that, you can build on your most successful campaigns and learn from the ones that didn’t work as well.

To review the success of your marketing campaigns, you can generate reports right from the CRM. We’ll talk more about reporting in the last chapter of this guide.

If you need help optimizing CRM workflows for each department, we have certified experts available to help. Besides configuring your platform to suit your needs, we can also advise on strategic best practices to help you avoid any missed opportunities in the future.

The Beginner's Guide to CRM
Don’t have time to read the full guide right now? Download the Beginner’s Guide to CRM to read at your convenience.
Chapter 5: Creating CRM reports & dashboards
It’s time to take a closer look at how to track progress and understand ROI using reports and dashboards. Learn more in Chapter 5.
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